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Kevin Schnepf, Published April 26 2013

Fargo Marathon route released, officials bank on Red River getting out of the way

FARGO - Banking on projections that the Red River doesn’t rise beyond 42 feet, Fargo Marathon officials plan to use the downtown Second Street underpass for this year’s race scheduled for May 18.

“It’s a little bit of a gamble, but if the river doesn’t turn into the monster that it could, we’re hoping Second Street will be open by May 18,” said Fargo Marathon Executive Director Mark Knutson. “And even if the clay dike was still up by then, we could route the runners through a parking lot in that area.”

With the latest crest in the history of Red River floods, marathon officials first eliminated Moorhead from this year’s route.

As in recent years, the marathon and half marathon will start and finish at the Fargodome. But instead of heading south on Oak Street, the runners will head south on Third Street to Sixth Avenue North.

That’s where runners will turn west to 10th Street, where they will head south and run through the underpass to bypass the railroad tracks. Runners will then work their way back on Fourth Avenue North to Broadway.

The return trip has runners going east to Second Street, not west to 10th Street as they did last year.

“If we were to head back to 10th Street, we would have too many runners from the marathon and half marathon running head-to-head,” Knutson said. “The head-to-head will be minimal on Broadway.”

Unlike last year, runners will head south on Ninth Street and head back on Eighth Street. Marathon officials also eliminated River Drive in south Fargo.

Runners will instead head west on 40th Avenue South before turning on the Old Milwaukee Bike Trail.

“We used to use that trail,” Knutson said. “That trail has really matured. It’s really nice.”

The course in north Fargo will be cut short at 28th Avenue North.

“We extended the course more in south Fargo so the marathoners don’t end up smashing into the back of the half marathoners,” said Knutson, who added that 14th Avenue North is a crucial part of the course early in the marathon route.

“We want to get all the marathoners through there before the half marathoners come back,” Knutson said. “It’s about Mile 1 for the marathoners and Mile 11 for the half marathoners.”

The revised map of the course can be found at fargomarathon.com.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549